The Tsetse Fly ~ Discovering lots of Fun and “Yikes!” about Bugs!

The Tsetse Fly ~ Discovering lots of Fun and “Yikes!” about Bugs!

Let’s have a little fun, a little learning and a lotta “Yikes!” today with the Tsetse Fly:

~ Tsetse fly ~
~ Tsetse Fly ~

The Tsetse Fly is a biting fly that inhabits Africa.  It resembles a common housefly, but is larger. Both male and female Tsetse Flies suck on the blood of mammals, and its this bloodsucking that causes so much harm to human beings and animals.

This is not just a “Yikes!” This is a deadly “yikes.”

The Tsetse Fly transmits trypanosomiasis, an infection of the central nervous system. The disease is called sleeping sickness in human beings and nagana in animals.  The Tsetse Fly is known as a cattle scourge, but it also feeds on horses, antelope and wild game.  The Tsetse Fly transmits both sleeping sickness and nagana through its saliva.

There are two distinct characteristics of the Tsetse Fly: one is its long proboscis, extending forward and attached to the bottom of its head by a bulb; the second is the way it completely folds its wings, resting one directly on top of the other and over the abdomen.

Tsetse Flies are very active during the day and they breed along streams and rivers.  The reproduction cycle involves the female laying a single egg, but the egg stays inside of her, hatching into a maggot.  “Yikes!” As the female feeds on human and/or animal blood, the maggot grows until it fills the mother’s abdomen.  She then releases it into the soil where it burrows and pupates.

There are at least 22 species of the Tsetse Fly, presenting a grave danger to regions of Africa.

Introduce your kids to the Tsetse Fly.  It’s a very frightening insect, but its one that kids find interesting.  Tell your kids that fossils of Tsetse Flies show that this insect has existed for millions of years.  You may also want to research some of the ways that Tsetse Fly populations are now being controlled.

Use June days to dig into a little learning about Bugs, and listen for your kids to say, “Yikes!”


The Tsetse Fly ~ Discovering lots of Fun and “Yikes!” about Bugs! was last modified: June 2nd, 2016 by Sharon Couto
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